Bullying victims likely to become perpetrators

According to a recent study of nearly 1,000 workers who admit to engaging bullying behaviours, those who were bullied in a previous workplace or earlier in their lives are at risk of becoming bullies themselves.

The researchers, from the Japan Support Centre for Suicide Countermeasures and other institutions, say research on bullying tends to focus on the work environment and risk factors associated with victimisation.  However they say that targeting the risk factors associated with individuals enacting bullying behaviours could provide opportunities to break the violence cycle.

In a survey of 927 Japanese workers who reported engaging in bullying behaviours, the researchers found those who experienced the highest rates of adverse experiences at home and during their school days were three times more likely to have perpetrated more acts of bullying at work.  The researchers say the most common bullying behaviours include not making eye contact with subordinates, continuing to look at a computer while consulting them on their work, and scolding them harshly for making a mistake.  "Workers who enacted bullying behaviours towards subordinates at work are more likely to have been victims of adverse childhood experiences and school and workplace bullying than workers who were not bullied," they say.
Read more: Masashi Kizuki, et al Adverse childhood experiences and bullying behaviours at work among workers in Japan [Abstract] Occupational and Environmental Medicine, online first November 2019, doi: 10.1136/oemed-2019-106009. Source: OHSAlert

Loneliness is bad for mental health in seafarers

Researchers from Cardiff University have found that long working hours, isolation and extended periods away from home, put seafarers at risk of poor mental health. The authors of the study have concluded that employers should provide self-help guidance, contracts that balance work and leave time, introduce anti-bullying and harassment policies, train officers to create a positive onboard atmosphere and set up confidential counselling services.

The Seafarers' Mental Health and Wellbeing report, funded by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), involved more than 1,500 seafarer questionnaire responses, while face-to-face interviews were conducted with a small group of seafarers, employers, maritime charities and other stakeholders. Lack of internet access, long periods away from friends and family, poor accommodation and food were among the leading causes of concern for those working at sea – confirming similar findings by Nautilus in its member surveys.

Professor Helen Sampson, director of the Seafarers International Research Centre (SIRC) and who led the study, said there is evidence that recent-onset psychological disorders are increasing among serving seafarers, yet 55 per cent of employers said they had not introduced any policies or practices to address mental health for a decade. “It is all too easy for seafarers working out on the deep ocean to be invisible to those ashore,” she said. “Their remoteness allows for abuse to go undetected. Sometimes seafarers are subjected to bullying and harassment by superiors and colleagues on board. However, many employers also mistreat seafarers by failing to provide decent and humane living conditions which promote good mental wellbeing.”
Read more: Cardiff University news release. Full report: Seafarers’ mental health and wellbeing, IOSH, 2019. Source: Risks 924

Cardiologists call for a ban on 'dangerous' vaping

E-cigarettes are “so dangerous and addictive” that countries should consider banning them, cardiologists have warned. The call came after new research suggested vaping could damage the brain, heart, blood vessels and lungs. It follows British teenager Ewan Fisher warning others to not to vape after he developed hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP), and almost died from serious respiratory failure.

Professor Thomas Münzel, of the Department of Cardiology of the University Medical Centre in Mainz, Germany, said e-cigarettes are so dangerous, as well as addictive, that more countries should consider banning them. He and his colleagues also argued there is a “paucity of evidence” to support claims that e-cigarettes are a “healthy” alternative to smoking or that they help people quit. The new study, published in the European Heart Journal, looked at the effect of e-cigarette vapour on blood flow and stiffness in the brachial artery in the upper arm in 20 smokers before they vaped an e-cigarette, and then 15 minutes afterwards. The results suggested that just one vaping episode increased heart rates and caused the arteries to stiffen, and that the inner lining of the arteries, the endothelium, stopped working properly in smokers.

Prof Munzel said: “Our data may indicate that e-cigarettes are not a healthy alternative to traditional cigarettes, and their perceived 'safety' is not warranted. In addition, we still have no experience about the health side effects of e-cigarettes arising from long-term use.” A limitation of the study was that no healthy non-smokers were included. However, the researchers point out that a strength is that they received no funding from the e-cigarette industry. “Recent studies indicate that e-cigarette industry funding is more likely to lead to results that indicate that e-cigarettes are harmless,” the paper noted.
Read more: European Society of Cardiology news release. Marin Kuntic et al: Short-term e-cigarette vapour exposure causes vascular oxidative stress and dysfunction: evidence for a close connection to brain damage and a key role of the phagocytic NADPH oxidase (NOX-2), [Full article] European Heart Journal, ehz772, published online 13 November 2019. Nisha Nair, et al:  Life-threatening hypersensitivity pneumonitis secondary to e-cigarettes, [Abstract] Archives of Disease in Childhood, Published Online First: 11 November 2019. Source: Risks 924

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